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Salon Hair Color - Preparing for Your Appointment

Updated on July 13, 2012
Make the most of your upcoming salon hair color appointment by following these simple preparation tips.
Make the most of your upcoming salon hair color appointment by following these simple preparation tips.

Preparation Will Lead to Better Results

Any salon professional, Hair Stylist, or Hair Colorist will tell you; the fewer variables they have to deal with the better the outcome will be. If a client comes in and their hair is completely unprepared for a hair color, the process can be longer and there is a smaller chance that the result will be as fabulous as it would otherwise be. It is smart to take a few extra steps to prepare for your appointment before stepping into the salon. Your salon professional will appreciate it and you're much more likely to love the outcome.

As importantly, stepping into a salon when you have not prepared your hair for a hair color treatment, keratin treatment, or any other process can be more costly. Good hairdressers will recognize the treatments a client needs to get their hair prepared. However, these additional steps will cost the hairdresser time and cost the client more money.

To guarantee a better result for yourself, avoid additional costs of unexpected preparation treatments, and be courteous to your stylist; follow these few simple steps to properly prepare for the hair color treatment you've scheduled for yourself.

1. Avoid Hair Conditioner

In order to permanently color your hair, your hair colorist must penetrate your hair shaft to deposit color pigment. The process is a tricky one and usually involve ammonia which is a corrosive ingredient to open the cuticle. The easier it is to open your cuticle, the easier it will be to deposit the pigment and less damaging the process will be on your hair. A difficult to open cuticle may result in more damage to the structural integrity of the hair and a less permanent or rich result.

Many people don't realize that the purpose of their hair conditioner is to actually close the cuticle. A tightly closed cuticle will make the hair shaft more smooth and reflective and provide that healthy shine and silkier feeling. However, a tightly closed cuticle is quite counter productive to the hair color process. So, clients should abstain from using hair conditioner for at least 2 - 3 days prior to a hair color appointment. This will enable you to come in with a less tightly closed cuticle and make it easier for the color that your hair colorist has selected for you to open the cuticle and penetrate your hair shaft to deposit the color pigments.

2. Avoid Scalp Irritation

Your salon professional will do everything they can to ensure a great salon experience for you including making sure you are comfortable. No client wants to experience an irritated scalp during a hair color treatment that may only lead to heightened irritation during the treatment, blow drying, and styling process. It is a good idea to not scrub, scratch, or otherwise manipulate your scalp for 1 - 2 days before your hair color appointment. If you are experiencing any scalp irritation, you should notify your colorist before the treatment begins.

3. Go Natural

During your hair color treatment, you salon will likely wash, condition, dry, and style your hair. To begin the process, they will have to remove any tangles, braids, twists, or any such styles to your hair and begin with a natural canvas from which to start. In order to save time and trouble, avoid having any tight styles in your hair before you arrive at the salon. Your stylist will appreciate it an be able to do a much nicer job.

If you must come to the salon with styled hair, opt for something lose and manageable that can be quickly removed or washed out. Avoid tight braids, kinks, or tangles.

4. Understand the Products Your Colorist Uses

The hair color process is a chemical process that usually involves several chemicals that are considered to be toxic and even carcinogenic including ammonia, sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde, and resorcinol. The human scalp can be quite sensitive to these chemicals and they may even be quite harmful to the body.

Studies have shown that 60% of whatever you put on your skin (lotions, perfume, etc.) is soaked into the bloodstream through the skin's pores and follicles. Your scalp has more pores and follicles than any other part of your body. Therefore, you should be very careful and very aware of what chemicals you're applying to your scalp.

Prior to your appointment, find out the hair color products that your salon uses. Research these brands online and look into each of their ingredients. Search for ingredients that you may have a known allergy to. If you are unsure about any ingredient or cannot find any information on the ingredient then you should call the manufacturer. Manufacturers have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS sheets) that will provide a wealth of information on the ingredients. You should consult your physician if you have any concerns whatsoever.

While your professional colorist will follow all state laws required to guard against allergic reactions, you should be comfortable with the products you are using and do your best to avoid any specific allergies. If you have known allergies, a small amount of research will help avoid a very negative beauty experience.

5. Select Your Colors

Professional hair color is as much an art as it is a science. There are so many paramaters to deal with that you must ultimately trust and rely on your colorist's individual creativity. Remember that they see clients all the time, have a deep understanding of what colors are going to look best with your skin tone, eye color, and facial structure; and should be used in a consultancy capacity to guide you through your selection. After all, that is one of the things you are paying them for!

However, also keep in mind that your colorist is not a mind reader. Ultimately, you will have to be happy with your hair color and to do that, you must have a good idea of what you want. You should look through magazines or online photos to select shades and tones that you like. Bring these photos with you to your appointment. Be prepared to show them to your colorist and describe why you like them. Be open minded to your colorist's feedback and guidance and work with them to determine what works best for you. Be as open minded, bold, or conservative as you like. Make sure your hair color is an expression of who you are and what you want to look like. But overall, have fun and enjoy the salon experience!


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    • SalonExpert profile image


      7 years ago

      I need to print this out and give it to each of my clients! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Jack Honoway 

      8 years ago

      I wish every client I have would read this article! It would make my job so much easier and the clients experience that much better.

    • profile image

      Jennifer Lewis 

      8 years ago

      Would these same tips apply for Keratin Treatments too?

    • profile image

      Linda White 

      8 years ago

      This is great advice and I am going to start emailing this to all my clients before they come into my salon for a hair color treatment.


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